Birding

My first visit to the alpine zone in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was on Mount Washington. I was 15 years old, surviving day three of a high school orientation camping trip. The challenge of climbing several thousand feet to stand atop an iconic peak filled me with a sense of accomplishment. While the summit view…

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Kids are naturally curious, as any parent knows, and one great way to encourage their curiosity, while also having a lot of fun, is to participate in a citizen science project. Citizen science is usually defined as the practice of public participation in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. This can be anything from counting…

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With spring comes the melting of snow, blooming of flowers, and the chirping of birds. But some places are better than others for birdwatchers. Here are six great places to combine a hike with some of the best bird watching in the region. Acadia National Park  |  Mount Desert Island, Maine Cadillac Mountain is the…

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February is National Bird Feeding Month, and naturally Mass Audubon is a place I look to for ideas and activities to help celebrate our feathered friends, from bird-feeder workshops to the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Mass Audubon formerly ran a program called Focus on Feeders, but this year it phased that independent project out…

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Sara Sloan slips off her mitten and uses her thumb to dial in the right track on her iPod. She holds the tiny speakers up and hits play. Deep, resonant hooting wafts out: “Who. Hoot, who, who.” The call of a great horned owl. The 12 of us stand silently in the dark woods, waiting…

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For kids who like nature, science, treasure hunts, and maybe even a little friendly competition, a BioBlitz is an ideal activity, one in which a whole family or even a school can participate. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a BioBlitz is essentially a 24-hour program to find and identify as many species of plants,…

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For those of us who live in the Northeast, it may seem obvious that many birds migrate to avoid cold winters. But that’s not the case. “It’s not because of the cold,” says Christopher W. Leahy, the Gerard A. Bertrand chair of natural history and field ornithology at Mass Audubon. “Birds are among the best-insulated…

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Bring your family to the Berkshires of western Massachusetts for bountiful summer wildflowers, rambling hikes and bicycle rides, and real dinosaur footprints that will fascinate young T. rex fans. Here are four suggestions for your next outdoor getaway. Ice Glen and Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge, Mass. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne called Ice Glen, which is just…

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When parents consider how a child learns to appreciate and understand the natural world, they often focus on time spent outdoors. But there can be a connection to time spent indoors: kids poring over descriptions and explanations, photographs and illustrations, as if learning in the laps of naturalists who came before. I recently talked with…

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Annette LeBlanc Cate is not an “expert” birdwatcher. As she says in her new book for kids, titled Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard, “not a single pair of my binoculars even work properly! I just really love birds.” It’s that amateur’s fascination with birds that makes this new book so fun—and inviting. Cate,…

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